It’s not uncommon for firefighters to save people’s lives or property in the line of duty every day. Because of this heroic work, many choose to join a local fire department after completing their training and certification programs. However, there is no guarantee they will make it big when starting salary information is released each year by various organizations like Payscale.
While some countries have low paid firefighter wages, others offer higher pay than other professions with similar responsibilities. Here are ten countries that have highest firefighter salaries.
1. United States $71,000 per year ($57,982 – $82,096)
- 1. United States $71,000 per year ($57,982 – $82,096)
- 2. Canada $70,900 (66,000 CA$ – 85,000 CAD)
- 3. Switzerland $65,000 (50,000 CHF – 100,000 SFCHF)
- 4. Japan $63,800 (53,400 JPY – 84,700 JPY)
- 5. Australia $61,600 (48,000 AUD – 89,500 AUD)
- 6. Germany $59,400 (46,000 EUR – 80,100 EUR)
- 7. United Kingdom £51,000 (41,300 GBP – 66,900 GBP)
- 8. Ireland £45,000 (35,500 IRLD – 61,100 IRDL)
- 9. New Zealand $44,000 (33,700 NZD – 63,000NZD)
- 10. Norway $43,000 (32,300 NOK – 62,650 NOK)
The U.S. has one of the most highly compensated firefighters globally because of its large population base which provides ample opportunities for employment. According to Career Builder, the average annual income for a firefighter in the country was around $72k from 2013-2014. This figure includes all full-time and part-time employees who worked at least 20 hours during the given period. It also does not include overtime earnings.
2. Canada $70,900 (66,000 CA$ – 85,000 CAD)
When looking at Canadian firefighter compensation, you’ll see an interesting trend where the lowest paid firefighters earn more money than those in the top category. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, the median weekly wage among professional occupations for firefighters was CA$ 869 while the highest earning group earned about CA$ 1,200 extra per week compared to the bottom earners. As well as being a great source of pride for Canadians, this statistic shows how important good public safety practices can be on a national level.
3. Switzerland $65,000 (50,000 CHF – 100,000 SFCHF)
While Swiss citizens don’t face much danger from wildfires, water disasters, floods, or tornadoes, they still need competent emergency personnel to help them out if something goes wrong. Therefore, having highly trained professionals available 24/7 to deal with any situation makes sense financially.
Since 2006, firefighters working for the government agency “Bundesagentur fur Qualitatssicherheit” (BAQ) enjoy extremely high salaries ranging anywhere between 50K and 65K annually depending on experience levels and number of years employed. To put this into perspective, other professions such as police officers only receive up to 40% of what these guys get paid.
4. Japan $63,800 (53,400 JPY – 84,700 JPY)
Japanese firefighters are considered to be very disciplined and reliable due to strict regulations imposed upon them. They are required to maintain a minimum standard of education, physical fitness, medical condition, and psychological health.
Furthermore, Japanese law mandates that any person called to extinguish fires must do so without exception regardless of personal feelings or emotions.
Despite this requirement, however, Japanese fire departments do recognize exceptional performance when it comes to putting out major blazes. When considering how far above the rest of world firefighter incomes go, remember that the average yearly income for a Japanese citizen is approximately $60,000.
5. Australia $61,600 (48,000 AUD – 89,500 AUD)
Similar to the case in the US, Australian firefighters’ salaries are directly related to the size of the country. A small town may employ fewer people than a larger city would. Additionally, state governments usually dictate different rules regarding hiring and firing procedures.
For example, New South Wales Fire Service offers a wide range of benefits including free accommodation, travel allowance, and access to company cars. These perks are unheard of elsewhere since they’re nonstandard across most states. On the other hand, Victoria Fire Brigade doesn’t provide anything beyond basic payment whereas Queensland Fire & Emergency Services pays residents just short of $55,000 annually.
6. Germany $59,400 (46,000 EUR – 80,100 EUR)
In Germany, anyone interested in becoming a firefighter needs to pass a written test followed by an oral exam. If successful, applicants then complete two years of college studies before passing another set of exams.
Afterwards, they enter the Federal Office of Personnel into a four-year program specializing in either general duties or special skills such as search and rescue operations or hazardous materials removal. Once accepted, German firefighters typically start making somewhere between 46K and 60K euros a year depending on location and length of service.
7. United Kingdom £51,000 (41,300 GBP – 66,900 GBP)
According to statistics gathered by Glassdoor.co.uk, British firefighters enjoy excellent job security due to regular promotions within their ranks. There isn’t really a lot of competition for positions throughout England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland since there aren’t too many people calling themselves “fire fighters”. That said, those who are lucky enough to secure a position with one of the few agencies located in London often end up getting paid upwards of 51KGBP over five years.
Aside from receiving free uniforms, UK firemen also get access to discounts at certain shops through membership cards offered by companies such as Bupa, Boots, Sainsbury’s, etc.
8. Ireland £45,000 (35,500 IRLD – 61,100 IRDL)
Since 2007, Irish firefighters have been eligible to take advantage of generous tax breaks. Thanks to new legislation passed by parliament, individuals who spend 12 months working as members of National Guard fire services won’t owe taxes on their first three years of income. After that point, taxpayers who are married filing jointly or individually must fork out 30 percent of earnings for six consecutive calendar quarters.
If you want to avoid paying taxes altogether, you could consider joining the Gardai State Forces’ Special Branch instead. Those who opt to become gardai automatically qualify for an 18% discount on groceries, clothing, entertainment, even phone bills.
9. New Zealand $44,000 (33,700 NZD – 63,000NZD)
Like in the UK, New Zealanders who find jobs with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) won’t owe taxes until they’ve served for three years. After that, it depends on individual circumstances whether or not someone chooses to file taxes. Like the CFA, New Zealand Police Officers also enjoy substantial savings once they reach retirement age thanks to a pension system designed specifically for them. Depending on your occupation, you might be able to apply for a senior officer status once you hit 55 years old.
10. Norway $43,000 (32,300 NOK – 62,650 NOK)
If you happen to live in Norway, congratulations! You already know exactly how much Norwegian firefighters get paid based off of the figures published annually by Statistisk sentralbyrå (Statistics Central). What you probably didn’t know is that unlike many other Scandinavian countries, Norwegians actually have a separate legal definition for “fire fighter.”
Under Norwegian law, a “fire fighter” is defined as “an operator of a vehicle used in fighting forest fires or rescuing persons exposed to dangerous situations in forests.” Basically, Norwegians call their firefighters wildland firefighters. Regardless, it’s safe to say that Norwegian fire fighters have one of the best pensions in the entire world.
There you have it! Knowing how much firefighters from specific locations receive annually will give you a better idea on how valuable their efforts truly are. Hopefully this article helped shed light on why you should consider pursuing a career in this field. Happy saving homes!